Top 5 font selection tips for business writing


Photo by Petr(sic) KratochvilLooking for the right font for your business web page, blog, business cards and other marketing materials? Before you go crazy with color, flash and the most unusual font you can find, keep in mind selecting the right typeface can make a big difference in grabbing your customers’ attention.

Marketing strategist and business writer Nancy Wagner says making the wrong choices can at best look unprofessional and at worst cost you your customers’ attention. The following are 5 helpful hints in selecting the appropriate font choices for marketing content:

  1. Sans Serif Fonts: If there was a font designed specifically for business communication, Helvetica is it. Clean, clear and neutral, Helvetica is the single-most widely used sans-serif typeface (without notches on the ends of letter strokes). In fact it was specifically designed to have no intrinsic meaning so it could be used on a wide variety of signage. Other good sans serif font choices include Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Myriad and Lucida Sans. Most will recognize Myriad and Lucida Sans as Apple’s marketing fonts of choice.
  2. Serif Fonts: Most email marketing and communications use a mix of serif and sans serif font choices. Serifs, also known as “old school” typography are most widely used in newspapers and print. This is because serifs are considered easier to read in longer texts. Some good serif font choices for marketing include Baskerville, Century, Times and Times New Roman with Times New Roman being the most widely used.
  3. Size Matters: The universal standard font size for body text is between 10 and 12 points. However, you may want to increase the size of text (up to 16 points) if your audience is older. Headlines should be set at anywhere from 16 to 24 points.
  4. Consistency: Using more than one font can add visual interest and texture but be careful not to use more than two or three different font choices in any marketing piece or it becomes distracting from the message. Creating consistency in your communications also helps your business by keeping your material looking professional and creating a unified look for your brand that builds basic trust with a prospective buyer.
  5. The Medium Is The Message: Most Web browsers offer four common fonts you should stick to: Times, Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana. When you use these fonts to send out communication, the reader sees the message you want to see. If you use a font with too much personality such as Comic Sans and Papyrus (P.S. most designers will tell you never use these fonts) your readers may not take you seriously because they wonder if you’re a 12-year-old girl. Finally, readability should be the first consideration in good design. Black text on a white background is easier to read than white text on a dark background and certainly looks more professional than wild colors, ALL CAPS, sparkles or flashy fonts. You may think it looks cool on your page, but your readers will not have the same feeling of appreciation.

For more in-depth look at what your font choices say about your brand take a look at this article.

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